Country Gardener

Widely regarded as the authority on gardening in the south west


‘Dancing’ for a single day!

Wed, 17/07/2013 - 16:53 Post author: gemmastringer

by Rosemary FitzGerald

Ro FitzGerald continues her series on plants with West Country associations, this time looking at the wonderfully elegant daylily

Gardeners who appreciate Hemerocallis, daylilies, sometimes feel alienated. They grow, love and admire these easy, reliable, varied and stunningly beautiful plants, but find that most other gardeners despise them!

Nurserymen who offer the plants are familiar with the disdainful tone of voice when potential customers say ‘Oh no, I’ve got the yellow one’, or ‘They’re much too orange for my garden’.

As there are now 52,000 registered cultivars, in every imaginable shade from white to deepest crimson, these reactions show just how resistant people are.

However enthusiasts like me are ever hopeful that we can increase their popularity, and spread more widely the pleasure and satisfaction they can bring.

How late can you sow for autumn vegetables?

Wed, 17/07/2013 - 16:38 Post author: gemmastringer

If you have seeds left over from your spring sowings there’s still time to squeeze in another harvest this year - with summer crops well into the autumn

It happens to every gardener. Seeds get left unused in packets at the end of the season. But is it worth spending time and effort to sow more vegetables in July and even early August to get a late autumn harvest- and use up all those left over seeds?

The chances are that if July and August sowing is going to work anywhere it will work in the south and south west and increasingly gardeners are finding they get a respectable crop from July sowings which are well worth the effort.

It shouldn’t happen to a tree officer!

Wed, 17/07/2013 - 16:23 Post author: gemmastringer

by Mark Hinsley

Some people are plain daft when it comes to their relationships with trees - memories of Mark’s early days as a Tree Officer

I was a Tree Officer for three years. I started in May 1987, in time for the October Hurricane, and left in June 1990, after the January Hurricane. I believed if I stayed any longer, there would be no trees left! I have often looked back on that time and thought, if I had stuck it out longer, there was a book in it; something along the lines of All Creatures Great and Small with me as the James Herriot of the trees.

Statuesque - but wonderful to grow

Tue, 09/07/2013 - 11:36 Post author: gemmastringer

Artichokes, together with asparagus, are probably the favourite perennials of many gardeners and their stately appearance in gardens makes them a delight to grow

Planting artichokes used to come with a warning from some older gardeners.

It went along the lines of: ‘make sure you like them because they will be a fixture in your garden for years to come.’

The inference was that this perennial vegetable, a stately plant which grows up to five feet tall and produces up to a dozen edible heads does actually take some getting rid of and once established can become a significant architectural part of your garden.

All hands to the pumps!

Tue, 09/07/2013 - 11:32 Post author: gemmastringer

All the hard work in the garden can easily be wasted in August as the hottest month of the year threatens to damage plants which fail to get enough water

August is usually one of the hottest months of the year so if there’s one action above any other to take note of is to water, water and water. This is the month when normally it is essential.

Try to use grey water wherever possible, especially as water butts may be running low if it has been a dry summer. August is traditionally holiday-time, so you might need to enlist the help of friends and family to look after the garden while you are away.

Peas, perfect peas!

Tue, 09/07/2013 - 11:28 Post author: gemmastringer

Early spring peas are one of the vegetable gardeners’ greatest pleasures. Sowing in the autumn using special early varieties is an easy and growingly popular option

Fresh peas picked straight from the garden are a revelation! Once you’ve tasted how sweet they taste, you’ll never want to eat frozen peas again.

And there’s more good news - growing pea plants is easy and you can achieve a good crop from a relatively small space. In fact, you can even grow them in containers on the patio for a really space-saving crop.

Philip White - Hestercombe’s restoration man

Tue, 09/07/2013 - 11:23 Post author: gemmastringer

Philip White’s work heading up the continuing fund raising and restoration of Hestercombe is about to enter its latest phase - but there’s no sign of his passion and enthusiasms slipping for a moment

Philip White still isn’t ducking the challenges ahead.

“We live or die. It keeps us sharp,” says the boss of Hestercombe Gardens, near Taunton, which is about to embark on another dramatic stage in its extraordinary story.

The tasks ahead for this former Somerset dairy farmer who earlier this year was recognised with an MBE in the New Year Honours List for his contribution to save Hestercombe, seem to bring energy and passion into his words.

Sizzling for high summer!

Tue, 09/07/2013 - 11:00 Post author: gemmastringer

The sun is out and your borders need that zing of drama. Here’s Country Gardener’s special top ten selection of plants to add colour form and style to your garden as you enjoy the long hazy days of summer. It’s a selection which will reward you not just with colour but in many cases with the perfect plants to attract wildlife.

The best garden apps to start with

Tue, 02/07/2013 - 18:57 Post author: gemmastringer

Catherine Dhanjal who lives near Bitton, Bristol with her Jack Russell dog and two bantams makes her personal choice of the best gardening apps on the market. When not in her garden or visiting other people’s, she writes and edits on technology issues.

A keen amateur gardener, I was lucky enough to recently buy a house near Bitton with a very well-stocked garden. So well-stocked that I needed some good reference sources to help me to nurture a whole range of plants I’d not previously kept. I also love visiting other gardens to gain inspiration and ideas.

A ‘private’ and improving English cottage garden

Wed, 19/06/2013 - 14:19 Post author: gemmastringer

Alan Lewis talks to Mike Werkmeister, who five years after he bought East Lambrook Manor, still has a lot more he wants to do to the magical cottage garden designed by Margery Fish

When Mike and Gail Werkmeister lived in Wimbledon they opened their garden under the NGS scheme. “It was a nice thing to do and we enjoyed it”, says Mike.

It was perhaps a sign of bigger things to come. Five years ago, Mike, a London based graphic designer by trade, and Gail, an NCT antenatal teacher and tutor, took a decision which was to step up the commitment to opening another and more famous garden to the public.


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